Fighting Poverty One Farmer at a Time (Part 2)

by Abimbola Otepola, Corporate Communications Analyst, AFEX

Dalhatu Abdulazeez’s day begins at 8.00 am every morning. Before the sun has risen, he’s already at work at the Zaria warehouse, tending to the bags of grains and the disbursement of inputs to farmers. He plans, supervises, and contributes to the planting and harvesting process. As part of his morning checks, he always keeps a close tab on the growth of the farmers’ harvest, the input disbursement, and the market dynamics of the grains stored in the warehouse. But it’s the ability to support livelihoods and generate income, he tells us, that’s the most important factor of him being excited about work daily.

Abdulaeez is a former classroom teacher who worked in the village for 10 years. His experience in the village exposed him to the farmers’ travails. He saw clearly how they lacked modern knowledge of on-farm practices and finances, making it nearly impossible for them to cultivate and realize high yields or sell to the right market. But for Abudlazeez and his farmer friends, joining AFEX’s operations opened a new chapter in their lives.

The outreach and financing program Abdulazeez references is AFEX’s Input Financing Program, which begins with farmer outreach carried out alongside fundraising efforts ahead of the planting season. Interested farmers are profiled for their eligibility to receive loans. This involves some of the following processes: data capturing/ validation on AFEX’s value chain management platform (WorkBench), applicant credit history check and input loan application.

To ensure that farmers are aware of the program requirements, pre-farming training and loan program education activities are conducted. Farmers who are eligible are given the loan in kind — they receive inputs (seeds, Crop Protection Products, fertilizer) as opposed to cash. The inputs are disbursed based on the loan bundle they opt for which is a function of their land size and ability to pay for the equity that is required to trigger the loan.

Abdulazeez tells us about one of the beneficiaries of the program to illustrate the change being made at that level.

“A beneficiary of this program is Mogaji Aska who I brought in to register with the farmers Association. Before AFEX, he was practicing the local method of farming and that limited his abilities to harvest more grains. Today, he delivers trucks filled with grains to the warehouse for sale. Improvements like this don’t just make us a food-secure nation alone but help even the farmers become rich.

Abdulazeez and our other field Xperts do vital work everyday that directly impacts rural farmers and communities, actively contributing to the fight against poverty and hunger.

Watch out for the next part in our next post.

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